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The top startup stories of the day:
Facebook’s Public Policy Director Ankhi Das has decided to step down from her role to pursue her interest in public service. In a press release, Facebook India’s Managing Director said ‘Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last nine years.
Meanwhile, Ankhi Das in a post announced her decision to step down and said, ‘After nine long years, I feel that my mission has largely been met.’ She added, ‘Thank you, mark for creating something beautiful for the world. I hope I have served you and the company well. I know we will be in touch on Facebook.’
2. Google Pay remains unavailable On iPhone
Digital payments app Google Pay remains unavailable for Apple iPhone users in India. The app was unlisted from the Apple App Store yesterday and remains unavailable.
Google issued a statement today ‘A small number of Apple iOS users might experience persistent payment failures on their transactions. Our teams are working to fix it at the earliest. Meanwhile, affected users can reach out to Google Pay support through the app for help. We apologize for the inconvenience to our users. The Google Pay iOS app will be briefly unavailable on the App Store; users will be able to see the new app update reappear shortly.’
3. Cure.fit co-founder Ankit Nagori swaps equity for larger ownership in Eat.fit
Cure.fit co-founder Ankit Nagori has increased his ownership in the company’s health food business Eat.fit through an equity swap of his stake in the former. This comes weeks after Eat.fit, registered under CureFoods Pvt Ltd, was hived off as an independent entity. The company said Nagori is not exiting cure.fit and will continue to be on the board of CureFit and will also have a stake in CureFit. CureFit will also have significant ownership in the spun-off Eatfit entity.
4. Funding of the Day
Online brand in fresh fish and meat e-commerce FreshToHome has raised $121M in Series C funding led by Investment Corporation of Dubai, Investcorp, Ascent Capital, US Government’s development finance institution - DFC, the Allana Group and other investors. Iron Pillar, the lead investor from Series B, participated in this round with a significant investment of $19M. Barclays was an advisor for the transaction.
The funding is the largest ever Series C funding in India Consumer Tech
After Katrina Kaif, Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt has made a personal investment in the omnichannel lifestyle retailer, Nykaa via a secondary transaction for an undisclosed amount.
Recently Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif invested an undisclosed amount in Nykaa through a secondary transaction. The investment came almost a year after Kaif launched her beauty brand ‘Kay Beauty’ in partnership with Nykaa.
Earlier this year, the beauty and fashion retailer joined the unicorn club after it raised Rs 100 crore from its existing investor Steadview Capital. Founded in 2012, Nykaa has over 5 million monthly active users, 70 stores across India and more than 1500 brands and 130,000 products available through its website, app and stores.
Online blue-collar workforce management platform Betterplace has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by Jungle Ventures and a total of $16 million since its inception. Existing investors, Unitus Ventures, 3One4 Capital, and Venture Highway also participated in the round.
With this fundraise, the company will continue to deliver innovative products, build its presence in new business verticals, expand its footprint in the SME sector, and grow internationally. Betterplace will also be scaling its Hire-Engage-Manage digital solutions which connect over 150 Mn blue-collar workforce with the growing hiring needs of enterprises.
Agritech supply chain and trade finance firm Origo has raised Rs 35 crore debt from Northern Arc Capital and other investors.
Origo group firms Origo Commodities and Origo Finance will use the fund for securitizing the agricultural markets and streamlining the supply chain mechanism for Agri produce in India.
Origo Commodities India (OCI) has raised Rs 15 crore from Northern Arc while Origo Finance raised Rs 20 crore for development of micro-lending avenues and Agri supply chain financing.
Fintech platform GetVantagea raises $5 million seed round in a mixture of equity and debt-line. The funding was led by Chiratae Ventures along with Dream Incubators and other NBFCs and debt funds.
Hubilo, a global virtual events platform, has raised $4.5 million (about Rs 33.2 crore) in funding, led by venture capital firm Lightspeed. Marquee tech angels, including Girish Mathrubootham (CEO Freshworks), Nishant Rao (ex-CEO LinkedIn India), Jonathan Boutelle (Co-founder, Slideshare), and Abinash Tripathy (CEO Helpshift) also participated in the seed funding round.
With this funding, Hubilo plans to build an Intelligent Hub for Virtual Events.
InVideo, a video creation platform that allows users to create high-quality videos for any form of digital media, has raised a $15M Series A led by Sequoia Capital India. The round also includes participation from Tiger Global, Hummingbird, RTP Global and Base.
The team plans to use this fresh capital injection to continue building on their technology solution and expand at scale.
Treebo raises Rs 10 Crore from Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Jaydeep Barman, Deepak Parayanken
Treebo Hotels has raised Rs 10 Crore from a group of angel investors including Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder & CEO of Paytm, Jaydeep Barman, co-founder & CEO of Rebel Foods (Faasos), Deepak Parayanken, Managing Director of Mozambique Holdings. This investment comes close on the heels of an investment of Rs 45 Crore raised by the company recently from existing investors.
5. Paytm Money launches ETFs to help new investors diversify and improve returns on their portfolio
India’s homegrown digital financial services platform Paytm’s wholly-owned subsidiary ‘Paytm Money’ has launched Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) on its platform, post-approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
These are passive funds that are listed on NSE /BSE and traded like regular equity shares proving the merits of mutual funds along with the return potential of stocks. The company has made it convenient for new investors by facilitating ETF investments for as low as Rs 16 in Equity, Rs 44 in Gold and Rs 120 for NIFTY.
The platform’s interactive and easy to use interface helps to track the price changes in the preferred ETFs along with the flexibility to set a price alert. It also updates the live prices of an ETF and empowers investors to place a sell order during the open market hours and receive the money directly in their bank account.
6. Healthcare startups globally raise a record $21.8 billion in Q32020
Healthcare startups globally raised a record $21.8 billion in funding last quarter, led by a spike in digital healthcare solutions, which have become more important during the pandemic as people stay at home.
Healthcare investments grew 18 percent quarter-on-quarter from $18.4 billion, while the number of deals also rose from 1,299 to 1,539, according to a report from CB Insights, a market intelligence platform.
Digital health startups raised $8.4 billion in the September quarter, 73 percent more than the previous quarter, across 508 deals, only 8 percent more than the previous quarter. This also indicates larger deal sizes, and leaders in a sector being able to raise large sums of money increasingly quickly.
There are currently 41 healthcare unicorns- private firms valued at over a billion dollars- with five added this quarter.
7. US appeals court rejects immediate WeChat ban
US appeals court has rejected a Justice Department request that it allow the government to immediately ban Apple and Alphabet’s Google from offering Tencent’s WeChat for download in US app stores. The three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in brief order the government had not demonstrated it would “suffer an imminent, irreparable injury during the pendency of this appeal, which is being expedited.”
8. Judge sets first hearing in US Google antitrust lawsuit
A US District Judge has set a status hearing on the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google for Friday. The Justice Department last week sued the $1 trillion (767.81 billion pounds) company and accused it of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.
9. Zoom end-to-end encryption is finally here, but you’ll sacrifice many features for it
Zoom, which shot to popularity at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown as the messiah of work from home protocols, is finally rolling out end-to-end encryption across all its apps on various platforms.
The feature comes after months of privacy and security debacles surrounding Zoom, which has seen the service grow from a bit-part enterprise communication service to one of the most-used apps in the world.
Zoom’s end-to-end encryption is rolling out effective immediately, and while that is great, enabling it will mean that users will have to sacrifice a number of convenient features, such as live streaming, cloud recording of meetings, live transcription and more.
First Published: Oct 27, 2020 9:27 PM IST